Alberta

Tobogganing in Kananaskis (again)

A couple of weeks after sledding on our tiny hill across the street, we went to the best toboggan location in our neck of the woods last weekend. The slope is somewhat dramatically called Suicide Hill by locals. We have gone there since all of the kids were really young and it is always a lot of fun. I titled a post in 2017 the same and it was fun to compare then and now.

We went late in the day which meant fewer people but came at the expense of the sun falling behind the trees shortly after we got started. It was still a beautiful day and we had a great time.


A whisky jack in flight

We have several gray jays that visit our backyard a few times a day. I watched this one land in the trees in the afternoon. When it launched, the snow sprayed behind as its wings flared out as it flew into a dive.


Skyfall

Desirée and I caught the sunset on the first day of the new year this evening. It turned out to be a beautiful end to the day. We watched the clouds play with the last light in the foothills on the eastern flank of the Rockies.


Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2021. Here’s to a happy and healthy year for you and yours. There is so much that will be nice to leave behind in 2020 around the world. I hope to remember the silver linings and the special moments from a long year and let the tougher ones fade sooner than later.


Morning flight

Mallard ducks backlit against morning sunshine rise off a pond east of Cochrane in Alberta, Canada.  Photographed on September 26, 2020.


No Trespassing Sunrise

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">I enjoyed a beautiful autumn dawn over the prairies northwest of Calgary near Big Hill Springs Park in late September. I enjoyed a beautiful autumn dawn over the prairies northwest of Calgary near Big Hill Springs Park in late September.

Using a headlamp’s red light, I painted this fence and illuminated the sign during one long exposure. There is a juxtaposition of the invitation a sunrise extends at the start of a new day with a sign meant to keep people away that I ruminated on while I photographed the morning.


Who knew deer don’t fancy fashion

Desirée and I were doing an autumn fashion shoot in Redwood Meadows for a local jewelry designer – Nicole at Stone Willow Jewellery – last night.

This young buck came by to see what was going on but wasn’t interested for long. Not much of a fashionista as it turned out. Silly deer – my lady was far more intriguing. He did enjoy the greens he found nearby though.


Aurora Prairialis

The Northern Lights have been increasing their activity into the southern Canadian latitudes lately. After what seems like close to a year of quiet night skies, it is wonderful to enjoy them again.

We found these dancing lights on the prairies south of Cochrane near the end of September. It was a calm display but hopefully a harbinger of things to come.


Cat Creek Waterfall

 

We started the September long weekend with a family hike up Cat Creek on the southern side of Kanananskis.  It’s a short walk through the forest that offers beautiful views down the Foothills and more intimate scenes in the valley.  It was late afternoon and we enjoyed being in no particular rush.  The trail has signs about the area’s history as main trail into Kananaskis last century as well as a short-lived period as a coal mining hotbed.  We arrived at the end of the main trail shortly after 5 o’clock and had the pond below the waterfall to ourselves.

Cold but not bitterly so, the youngest kids all had turns jumping in and taking short swims.  Desiree and I climbed up the cliff beside the waterfall and explored further upstream for a little while.  Above the cliff edges were striped with thick moss and the stream had several small drops.  However the waterfall at the end of the trail was rightfully the star of the show.  It is one of the prettiest that I have seen in Alberta.  That comment may be influenced by the company I was with – most of my very favorite people.  Nonetheless, it was a great location to take a few photos.

The walk back in the evening light was just as beautiful.  We finished with most kids sleeping on the way home.  A great day.

 


Perseid Meteor Shower over Bragg Creek

Desirée and I went out to look for shooting stars last night for our favorite meteor shower of the year.  The Perseids didn’t let us down and we saw a couple dozen on either side of midnight west of Bragg Creek.

The Milky Way stood out against the deep night and I was lucky to catch a few crossing that incredible arch.

 


Loon on the lake

A quiet moment watching a lone loon between his dives under the water.


Great gray owl in the late winter forest

On a solo outing to some remote roads, I found a gorgeous great gray owl perched on a telephone pole in warm afternoon sunshine.

A short wait ended with the bird gliding into the forest.  It found a perch there and moved to two other ones before flying to a knot of trees close by.

She scanned the sky occasionally, watched the ground steadily but did not find a target on or under the snow.  One launch had the owl drop onto a pile of deadfall.  I caught a nice launch off of a tree trunk and followed the bird up to her next perch.

Soon she flew across the nearby meadow and landed in a lone evergreen.  She flew along a frozen creek to a slender tee – a winter’s skeleton – that bowed under her weight.

 

And then she flew west, further afield, and well beyond my shooting range with the gear I have.

ng range.